07/11/2013: DC FORUM GIVES FOCUS TO PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP EFFORTS IN REDUCING MATERNAL MORTALITY RATES IN THE PHILIPPINES
6 November 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C.-The significant strides made by the Philippines in improving the country’s health system and the need for the international community to support the efforts in reducing maternal and infant mortality rates will take center-stage at a forum in Washington, D.C. next week.
Entitled "Public Health in the Philippines: Progress and Challenges," the forum was organized by the Philippine Embassy; the US-Philippines Society; the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs in coordination with the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF).
Philippine Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona will be the keynote speaker in the forum to be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday, 12 November, at the Maurice R. Greenberg Conference Suite of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in their new building at 1616 Rhode Island Avenue NW in Washington, D.C.
Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said Secretary Ona will share the Philippine health situation, the current gains and challenges. He’ll also discuss how the partnership between the Department of Health and the ZFF through the Health Leadership and Governance Program (HLGP) will further reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in the country.
The partnership, which was launched in May, was inspired by ZFF's Health Change Model and seeks to empower local officials; help strengthen the capabilities of public healthcare systems; and improve access to healthcare for the poor, especially in rural areas.
According to Ambassador Cuisia, ZFF's model has been credited for helping bring down maternal mortality rates since it was implemented in the ZFF pilot areas in 37 municipalities. The success of the approach led to the decision of DOH to replicate the same in 609 municipalities which started in August 2013.
Both Secretary Ona and ZFF want to extend the program to another 624 poor municipalities and hope to raise US$ 8.4 million of the total US$ 20.6 million in support of the program.
"There is a need to sound a call for support from possible partners to help us further reduce not just maternal and infant mortality rates but also the incidences of communicable and non-communicable diseases in our poorest communities," Ambassador Cuisia said.
In addition to Secretary Ona, the other speakers in the forum are former Agrarian Reform Secretary Ernesto D. Garilao, President of ZFF and former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, Trustee of ZFF and Dr. Naveen Rao, Executive Director of Merck for Mothers. Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Roberto R. Romulo, Chairman of ZFF, will serve as moderator. US-Philippines Society Chair John Negroponte will co-host the event.